Help me design a cheap iontopheresis machine

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by echelon1, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. echelon1

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 20, 2015

    I apologize in advance, I know very little about electronics/circuit design/etc but I was hoping I could find some help here. I am interested in creating a cheap, portable, and safe, machine to perform iontopheresis on my hands as a treatment for excessive sweating.

    Here's my current (and very rudimentary but effective) setup that I've been using for the last 6 or 7 years (and previously I used this but I don't think it was powerful enough): I connect 4 rechargeable 9V batteries in series and attach a lead from either end to two respective stainless steel toaster oven trays (one for each hand), which are then filled with tap water and a dash of salt. When I place a hand in each pan, the circuit is completed. I sit like that for roughly a half hour, and then I reverse the current and repeat.

    Here are the problems with the current setup and what I'm looking for in a new one:
    1. Charging batteries is a pain in the ass, and buying new ones is expensive. Ideally I'd like something that can plug into the wall, but I obviously don't want to put my life at risk.
    2. Obviously there is no way to control the current of this system, so every time I put the second hand in the water I get shocked. This makes it difficult to get started (think about watching someone prepare to kick you in the balls - your body won't just let you sit there and take it, the apprehension is too much). I would want something with a switch of some sort, ideally something like a rheostat or some method by which I can dial up the current slowly.
    3. Now, the issue of my personal safety - My current setup runs current through my body and if this is a significant issue at this level of current (a question in itself) I would like to find a way to avoid that.
    4. I travel for a living and spend a good portion of my life in hotel rooms and on airplanes - whatever this ends up being would need to be portable somehow.
    5. I never know how much voltage I'm using and what current I draw because I don't know how to measure it. This makes it difficult to keep my treatments consistent. Maybe someone could help me with this as well?

    ... Or I could just go buy one of these from a medical supplier for several thousand dollars, but where's the fun in that? Thanks in advance for any and all guidance you guys can provide, I really appreciate it!
  2. k7elp60

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 4, 2008
    I am not sure what you want. I looks similar to a TEN (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)unit. The TENS units provide impulses at different rates and at different current amounts to the human body for handling pain. From what I read about the iontopheresis machine it is very similar in that it generates small currents to inject into the human body. I also read that it is used to infuse the substance into the human body with the help of a small current. If I am on the right track please let me know, as I am be able to help you with circuit.
  3. Bernard

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 7, 2008
    According to Tektronix, 50 mA is lethal, so stay in the 1 mA to 5 mA range. I would stay with battery operation, maybe 4 AA Ni-MH driving a boost circuit for the 36 V. Should give around 30 hours operation. Possibly use a variable constant current ckt with a ramp-up to set point feature. Buy a multimeter. Do some more research.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  4. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
    I designed one years ago for a Pediatric Pulmonary Function lab to replace their old 67.5v battery/pot/meter. As I remember it was powered by 4 AA batteries, a DC/DC converter, constant current circuit, and a cut off timer. Supplied 1.5 mA to two electrodes spaced about 4" apart on the patient's forearm. I think I added a crowbar circuit in case there was a failure in the constant current source. No path across the heart!

  5. AnalogKid

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 1, 2013
    Is there anything to your current setup other than batteries and wires? Any electronic circuit of any kind?

  6. Dodgydave

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 22, 2012
    For Hyperhidrosis treatment try dropping the voltage to 18v to 24v, and use more salt in the water, that should lower the sudden shock, you could use a mains adapter instead of batteries, or use NiCad or nimih rechargeable and an adapter.
  7. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    I would advise against that, on safety grounds. Failure of the adapter could have lethal consequences.
    Bernard likes this.